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Benchmarking Configurations

System Builder Marathon, Q4 2013: A $2400 PC That Costs $2700

We're hoping that newer components and better overclocks will give the new system enough performance to overcome recent price spikes, yielding an overall value victory!

It's also worth reiterating that our benchmark suite is in the process of evolving. There are a lot of older tests still present today, but we're also running the new stuff for use next quarter.

Test Hardware Configurations
 Q4 $2400 PCQ3 $2550 PC
Intel Core i7-4930K: 3.4 to 3.9 GHz, Six Physical Cores
O/C to 4.40-4.60 GHz, +140 mV
Intel Core i7-3930K: 3.2 to 3.8 GHz, Six Physical Cores
O/C to 4.20 GHz, 1.25 V
2 x Asus Radeon R9 290: 947 MHz GPU, GDDR5-5000
O/C to 1100 MHz, GDDR5-5600
3 x EVGA GeForce GTX 760: 980-1033 MHz GPU, GDDR5-6008 O/C to 1130 MHz GDDR5-6680
16 GB G.Skill DDR3-1866 CAS 9-10-9-28
O/C to DDR3-2133 CL 9-10-11-10, 1.585 V
16 GB Mushkin DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-24
Not Overclockable
ASRock X79 Extreme4: LGA 2011, Intel X79 Express
Stock 100 MHz BCLK
ASRock X79 Extreme6: LGA 2011, Intel X79 Express
Stock 100 MHz BCLK
OpticalPioneer BDR-208DBK: 15x BD-RPioneer BDR-2208: 15x BD-R
CaseFractal Design Define R4 Black PearlLian Li PC-9NA
CPU CoolerThermaltake CLW0217 Water 2.0 ExtremeNoctua NH-D14 SE2011 
Hard DriveSanDisk SDSSDHP-256G-G2 256 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSDMushkin Chronos Deluxe DX 240 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD
PowerSeasonic SS-850AM: 850 W Semi-Modular, 80 PLUS BronzeCorsair HX850: 850 W Modular, ATX12V v2.3, 80 PLUS Gold
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 13.12Nvidia GeForce 326.80 Beta
ChipsetIntel INF INF
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" 90-Second Fraps
Test Set 1: Medium Quality Defaults (No AA, 4x AF)
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Defaults (4x AA, 16x AF)
F1 2012Steam Version, In-Game Test
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimUpdate 1.5.26, Celedon Aethirborn Level 6, 25-Second Fraps
Test Set 1: DX11, High Details No AA, 8x AF, FXAA enabled
Test Set 2: DX11, Ultra Details, 8x AA, 16x AF, FXAA enabled
Far Cry 3V. 1.04, DirectX 11, 50-Second Fraps "Amanaki Outpost"
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA, Standard ATC., SSAO
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 4x MSAA, Enhanced ATC, HDAO
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CS6Version x64: Create Video which includes 3 Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneosly
Adobe Photoshop CS6Version 13 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe Premeire Pro CS6Version, 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format 
LAME MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.99: Video from Canon Eos 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds
Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
TotalCode Studio 2.5Version: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
ABBYY FineReaderVersion Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Adobe Acrobat XVersion Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encryption
Autodesk 3ds Max 2013Version 15.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
BlenderVersion: 2.67b, Cycles Engine, Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, 1920x1080, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Render THG.blend frame 1
Visual Studio 2010Version 10.0, Compile Google Chrome, Scripted
File Compression
WinZipVersion 17.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.2: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.28: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.3, Benchmark Only
PCMark 8Version: 1.0.0 x64, Full Test
SiSoftware Sandra 2013Version 2013.10.19.50, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Cryptography, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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